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[tawk] /tɔk/
verb (used without object)
to communicate or exchange ideas, information, etc., by speaking:
to talk about poetry.
to consult or confer:
Talk with your adviser.
to spread a rumor or tell a confidence; gossip.
to chatter or prate.
to employ speech; perform the act of speaking:
to talk very softly; to talk into a microphone.
to deliver a speech, lecture, etc.:
The professor talked on the uses of comedy in the tragedies of Shakespeare.
to give or reveal confidential or incriminating information:
After a long interrogation, the spy finally talked.
to communicate ideas by means other than speech, as by writing, signs, or signals.
Computers. to transmit data, as between computers or between a computer and a terminal.
to make sounds imitative or suggestive of speech.
verb (used with object)
to express in words; utter:
to talk sense.
to use (a specified language or idiom) in speaking or conversing:
They talk French together for practice.
to discuss:
to talk politics.
Informal. (used only in progressive tenses) to focus on; signify or mean; talk about:
This isn't a question of a few hundred dollars—we're talking serious money.
to bring, put, drive, influence, etc., by talk:
to talk a person to sleep; to talk a person into doing something.
the act of talking; speech; conversation, especially of a familiar or informal kind.
an informal speech or lecture.
a conference or negotiating session:
peace talks.
report or rumor; gossip:
There is a lot of talk going around about her.
a subject or occasion of talking, especially of gossip:
Your wild escapades are the talk of the neighborhood.
mere empty speech:
That's just a lot of talk.
a way of talking:
a halting, lisping talk.
language, dialect, or lingo.
signs or sounds imitative or suggestive of speech, as the noise made by loose parts in a mechanism.
Verb phrases
talk around, to bring (someone) over to one's way of thinking; persuade:
She sounded adamant over the phone, but I may still be able to talk her around.
talk at,
  1. to talk to in a manner that indicates that a response is not expected or wanted.
  2. to direct remarks meant for one person to another person present; speak indirectly to.
talk away, to spend or consume (time) in talking:
We talked away the tedious hours in the hospital.
talk back, to reply to a command, request, etc., in a rude or disrespectful manner:
Her father never allowed them to talk back.
talk down,
  1. to overwhelm by force of argument or by loud and persistent talking; subdue by talking.
  2. to speak disparagingly of; belittle.
  3. Also, talk in. to give instructions to by radio for a ground-controlled landing, especially to a pilot who is unable to make a conventional landing because of snow, fog, etc.
talk down to, to speak condescendingly to; patronize:
Children dislike adults who talk down to them.
talk of, to debate as a possibility; discuss:
The two companies have been talking of a merger.
talk out,
  1. to talk until conversation is exhausted.
  2. to attempt to reach a settlement or understanding by discussion:
    We arrived at a compromise by talking out the problem.
  3. British Politics. to thwart the passage of (a bill, motion, etc.) by prolonging discussion until the session of Parliament adjourns.
    Compare filibuster (def 5).
talk over,
  1. to weigh in conversation; consider; discuss.
  2. to cause (someone) to change an opinion; convince by talking:
    He became an expert at talking people over to his views.
talk up,
  1. to promote interest in; discuss enthusiastically.
  2. to speak without hesitation; speak distinctly and openly:
    If you don't talk up now, you may not get another chance.
talk big, Informal. to speak boastingly; brag:
He always talked big, but never amounted to anything.
talk someone's head / ear off, to bore or weary someone by excessive talk; talk incessantly:
All I wanted was a chance to read my book, but my seatmate talked my ear off.
talk to death,
  1. to impede or prevent the passage of (a bill) through filibustering.
  2. to talk to incessantly or at great length.
Origin of talk
1175-1225; Middle English talk(i)en to converse, speak, derivative (with -k suffix) of tale speech, discourse, tale; cognate with Frisian (E dial.) talken
Related forms
talkable, adjective
talkability, noun
talker, noun
intertalk, verb (used without object)
nontalker, noun
overtalk, verb
undertalk, noun
untalking, adjective
1. See speak. 4, 20. prattle. 34. discourse. 17. colloquy, dialogue, parley, confabulation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for talked
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Again he recurred to his early years, and talked fondly of his wife and children.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • They talked until late into the night of what he should "lay out" to do.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I wish we might have talked more—I'm sure—when are you leaving?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • She was apt not only to know what she talked about, but she was a woman of resource, unafraid of action.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Then after she was engaged to Shepler they talked him out of it.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for talked


(intransitive; often foll by to or with) to express one's thoughts, feelings, or desires by means of words (to); speak (to)
(intransitive) to communicate or exchange thoughts by other means: lovers talk with their eyes
(intransitive) usually foll by about. to exchange ideas, pleasantries, or opinions (about): to talk about the weather
(intransitive) to articulate words; verbalize: his baby can talk
(transitive) to give voice to; utter: to talk rubbish
(transitive) to hold a conversation about; discuss: to talk business
(intransitive) to reveal information: the prisoner talked after torture
(transitive) to know how to communicate in (a language or idiom): he talks English
(intransitive) to spread rumours or gossip: we don't want the neighbours to talk
(intransitive) to make sounds suggestive of talking
(intransitive) to be effective or persuasive: money talks
(informal) now you're talking, at last you're saying something agreeable
talk big, to boast or brag
talk shop, to speak about one's work, esp when meeting socially, sometimes with the effect of excluding those not similarly employed
talk the talk, to speak convincingly on a particular subject, showing apparent mastery of its jargon and themes; often used in combination with the expression walk the walk See also walk (sense 18b)
(informal) you can talk, you don't have to worry about doing a particular thing yourself
(informal) you can't talk, you yourself are guilty of offending in the very matter you are decrying
a speech or lecture: a talk on ancient Rome
an exchange of ideas or thoughts: a business talk with a colleague
idle chatter, gossip, or rumour: there has been a lot of talk about you two
a subject of conversation; theme: our talk was of war
(often pl) a conference, discussion, or negotiation: talks about a settlement
a specific manner of speaking: children's talk
Derived Forms
talkable, adjective
talkability, noun
talker, noun
Word Origin
C13 talkien to talk; related to Old English talutale, Frisian talken to talk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for talked



late 15c., "speech, discourse, conversation," from talk (v.). Meaning "informal lecture or address" is from 1859. Talk of the town first recorded 1620s. Talk show first recorded 1965; talk radio is from 1985.



early 13c., talken, probably a diminutive or frequentative form related to Middle English tale "story," ultimately from the same source as tale (cf. hark from hear, stalk from steal) and replacing that word as a verb. East Frisian has talken "to talk, chatter, whisper." Related: Talked; talking.

To talk shop is from 1854. To talk turkey is from 1824, supposedly from an elaborate joke about a swindled Indian. To talk back "answer impudently or rudely" is from 1869. Phrase talking head is by 1966 in the jargon of television production, "an in-tight closeup of a human head talking on television." In reference to a person who habitually appears on television in talking-head shots (usually a news anchor), by 1970. The phrase is used earlier, in reference to the well-known magic trick (e.g. Senior Wences talking head-in-the-box trick on the "Ed Sullivan Show"), and to actual talking heads in mythology around the world (e.g. Orpheus, Bran).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for talked



  1. To inform; confess and implicate others; squeal: Socks would never never talk (1924+)
  2. To talk about; have as one's topic •Always in the progressive tenses: The administrators aren't talking toga parties/ What we're talking here is seventy-five a key

Related Terms

back talk, big talk, fast talk, happy talk, loud-talk, pep talk, pillow talk, straight talk, sweet-talk

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with talked
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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